Second Hand Sales Pricing & Manners

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I don’t buy from the EGL Comm Sales as much as I do from Mbok for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s just because I tend to find what I want on Mbok for a good price more often, since things going for a really good price on the Comm Sales tend to go quicker due to a lower market saturation than in Japan. That said, I have noticed a few things that make me shake my head a little.

paypal_logo

To start with, paypal fees. Yes, paypal charges you a fee. Yes, that cuts into your profit. No, you can not charge the buyer the fee as a paypal fee. I say this for three reasons:

  1. It’s a direct violation of the Pay Pal TOS.
  2. It’s rude; no one likes surprise fees
  3. It’s deceptive; the price you list should be the price you plan charge.
  4. It sets a negative starting tone to the transaction.

Paypal is a business, and the fee is you paying for their services. As a seller, this is an expense to you, but, like other expenses, it should be rolled into the price you are charging for an item. If you absolutely can’t risk estimating the fee on the shipping, calculate the local shipping and include it and the fee in your price, then round up the price to an even number. If you are very nervous, you can add a dollar or two. Record your base price, shipping and fees in a spreadsheet or private journal entry. Then, if, you have to ship internationally, to give a price quote, the formula would be:

New Fee = ((Base Price + International Shipping) * fee percentage )
Additional Shipping = International Shipping + New Fee – Domestic Shipping – Old Fee

If you are re-selling a new item and trying to make back what you spent and the item is not sold out, you have a couple options. If the item was somewhat inexpensive (bodyline, taobao, etc) you can try listing it on ebay; calculate the ebay fees and include those in your price as well. If it was a more valuable item, you have a couple choices. One, if you think the item will sell out, you can hold onto it and sell it then, or two you can try to trade it for something else with the same value.

But pricing it with a hidden fee will only cause a buyer to resent you, or worse, cancel the transaction once you send the invoice.

If you absolutely must add a fee, call it a handling fee and state what it is upfront. This might be necessary if you are giving something away (buyer just pays shipping), for example. But otherwise, by all means, roll it into your price and be done with it instead of making your buyers grumpy and violating paypal’s terms!

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On that same note, I have a gripe with gift payments. First of all, that phrase shouldn’t exist. Sending money as a payment on paypal should never be a “gift”.  It’s not, in any sense of the word, a gift, if you are paying someone for an item. This is also against paypal’s terms. Not only that, it’s risky. Paypal allows for the gift payment type for instances where someone is literally giving a gift of money to someone else. For example, if someone’s daughter got stranded because she missed her flight and couldn’t afford to buy another ticket, or if someone wanted to give a friend who was far away $20 for their birthday. Paypal basically gives the service away in those instances because they are being nice. It’s not something they are obligated to do.

They do it to build a relationship with the customer so that when those people go to buy or sell things, they will consider using paypal when it’s not free. So, when you try to trick paypal into making your non-gift transaction into a free one, you are basically stealing the service they are offering. Of course, most people don’t care as long as they are getting a discount, and if they aren’t caught will keep doing it.

Why stop, right? Well, if the moral reason doesn’t change your mind about gift payments, then here is the critical bit; if you have a bad transaction, you can’t get any protection from paypal if things go sour with a gift payment. So, if you make a gift payment, and the seller never sends the item, or they send it an it’s not as described, you are out of luck. Unless your credit card or bank steps up (and then you are going to have to explain to them that you broke paypal’s terms) you have no way of getting your money back short of going to the police. That tiny little percentage is your insurance that if this seller is a rotten apple, you will still be ok. Bottom line, unless you are really sending a friend a gift, don’t send the payment as a gift.

stain

Also, inspect your items. Take the fabric in your hands, under a bright light, and move the fabric through your hands and really look at it. Look at the whole garment. Turn it inside out and look again. Look at the seams, check the buttons to see if they are all there, and that they aren’t loose. Check that the zipper works. Pull up the stock photo on lolibrary (If it’s a brand item, and it’s not there, message me on lolibrary and I will figure out what your item’s name and date is and most likely find you a stock photo, if you want!) and compare your item to the stock photo to make sure you have things like detachable bows, sashes and waist ties included. There is no excuse for sending out an item that has a large conspicuous mark on it without telling the buyer first. They will be a lot more understanding if you go to them and say “look, I was looking this over as I was packing it up, and I noticed a stain”, then if they find it themselves later. Besides, if they decide to return it to you for a refund, shipping to and from them is almost always going to be more than what you would discount the item for because of the mark!

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Lastly, pack your items safely (include a layer of plastic in case it gets wet!) and don’t ask for packages to be marked down, or mark down packages that are going to be insured. Ideally, I’d say never do it, as it’s illegal, and unless you are in protest of your countries taxes and not paying them at all, then it’s your duty as a good citizen to pay the customs fees that you might be charged. If you disagree with the fee, and you live somewhere where citizens can have opinions about such things, write to a local politician expressing your concerns and making a suggestion on the matter. Either way, in most countries, customs fees are one of the government’s sources of income, and like taxes, and other sources of revenue, they go towards the services that are provided to the people, as well as the daily operations of the government. But I digress; the point is, if you mark down a package that you have insured, you limit how much you can collect in insurance if the package is damaged. For longer or cheaper shipping options, this is even worse, because the chance of the package being damaged in transit is higher.

All in all, don’t try to trick people into buying things and don’t cut corners to save a couple bucks at the risk of losing your legal protection.

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